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A Baby for the Boss(8)

By:Maureen Child

“Then why haven’t you fired me or told Sean to?”

“I do my own firing,” he said. “And if I ever have proof that you’ve betrayed us, then I will fire you so fast your head will spin. Suspicion isn’t proof.”

She laughed shortly and shook her head. Then she took a long step back, and folded her arms beneath those magnificent breasts. “Boy, you’re really reaching. Being a prethief is like being prepregnant. Or prepublished. All that means is you’re not something. Like I’m not a thief, so I’d appreciate it if you’d quit throwing accusations around that you can’t back up.”

Damn, the angrier she was, the hotter she got. Bright spots of color dotted her cheeks and her blue eyes were flashing dangerously. What did it say about him that her temper only fueled the need inside him?

Most of the women in his life agreed with him, smiled coyly, flirted outrageously and in general made sure they were pleasant company. Jenny didn’t give a damn about any of that. She had an opinion and wasn’t afraid to share it and that was just as sexy as the way her eyes glittered.

And sexy wasn’t the point.

“We both know what’s going on here, Jenny,” he argued. “You might not want to admit it—and who could blame you—but the fact is, your uncle owns a company that would like nothing better than to have a contract with Celtic Knot. You meet me ‘accidentally,’ go to bed with me and try to convince me you’re not colluding with your uncle?” She opened her mouth to argue, but he rushed on before she could. “Then months later, you come to work for us, grab a job as head designer.”

“I didn’t ‘grab’ anything,” she snapped. “Sean came to me and offered me the job.”

He’d never told Sean about his time with Jenny. Maybe if he had, his younger brother wouldn’t have hired her in the first place. Which, Mike was forced to admit, would have been a damn shame. As much as she managed to irritate him, she was a hell of an artist.

“Sean asked, but you took it.” He tipped his head to one side and studied her. “So the question is, why? You miss me? Or are you some kind of corporate spy now?”

“Now I’m a spy? Wow,” she said, slowly shaking her head. “Paranoia reaches new heights.”

He snorted. “I’m not paranoid if you really are a spy.”

“You’re amazing.”

“So it’s been said.”

She threw her hands up. “There’s no talking to you. So think whatever you want,” she told him, voice as icy as her eyes were hot. “You have from the beginning.”

“Right. When we met at the gaming con in Phoenix. Another coincidence?” His eyebrow lifted. “You just happened to be at my hotel?”

“Or,” she countered, “you arrogant jackass, you happened to be at my hotel.”

Surprise almost had him laughing. Almost. But she was too furious and he was too sure he was right. There was nothing funny about being cheated. Lied to. Old memories of his mother crying, his father shamefaced, rose up in his mind, and Mike deliberately quashed them. Not the time or the place for memories, other than the ones he and Jenny had created the first time she’d lied to him.

“Right. I went looking for you that night.”

“You’re the one who approached me in the bar,” she reminded him. “Not the other way around.”

“You were beautiful. And alone.” And somehow she had looked insulated, cut off, as if she’d been alone so long that she hadn’t expected anything else from her life. Intrigued, Mike had watched her sip a single glass of wine for nearly an hour, as bar patrons came and went. As the bartender flirted with her and she ignored him, apparently oblivious to her own allure.

Mike wasn’t unaware, though. She was tiny, making a man want to step up and be her protector. She was beautiful, making a man want to see her smile to know what that smile would do to her eyes. And she had so many curves in all the right places, any man would have wanted to get her out of the short red dress and high, needle-thin heels she had worn.

How the hell could he have resisted her?

She flushed at the unexpected compliment and he watched, fascinated, as a stain of deep rose filled her cheeks. She looked away from him then as if hoping to regain her sense of balance. He knew how that felt because damned if he didn’t feel off his game every time he was around her.

“Look,” she said, her voice cool and even, “the past is done. All we have now is the present and the future.” Lifting her gaze to his, she said, “I’m not walking away from the hotel project. Not only is it my job, but it’s going to be fun.”